Maruti Suzuki sees more demand for diesel cars

by Sumantra B Barooah 22 Aug 2014

While the narrowing price gap between petrol and diesel fuels has resulted in petrol cars now outselling their diesel-engined counterparts, India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki still sees huge potential in its diesel car portfolio.

According to R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki, diesel-engined cars currently account for 49 percent of the total car market in India. However, for Maruti, the sale of diesel-run cars from its stable currently stands at only 29 percent to overall company sales, leaving behind huge scope for its diesel cars to catch up with market numbers.

Talking exclusively to Autocar Professional today in New Delhi, Bhargava said: “We had lost market share due to the earlier fuel price policy. There is a greater certainty with the price gap coming down between the petrol and diesel fuels. However, our diesel cars stand at only 29 percent of all Maruti cars currently sold in the market, against the industry average of 49 percent. This means there is a lot of scope for us to increase the sales of our diesel-run cars.”

The company, which plans to roll out a diesel version of the Celerio hatchback, currently has unutilised annual production capacity of 300,000 cars and plans to use this before the new Gujarat plant commences operations in 2017. Maruti Suzuki will have a cumulative production capacity of three million cars per annum after the Gujarat plant goes on stream.

The senior company official also hinted that the company is working on two SUV platforms – one is planned for commercial launch during the first half of 2015, and the other by the first half of 2016. Maruti is aggressively working to roll out 7-8 new models over the next two years and plans to almost double its existing portfolio of 12-13 cars.